The doctors are in; the latest illness? Friendship

Dear Dr. Fact & Dr. Faux,
My friend is going through a hard time. Normally she is really happy and we laugh all the time together. I don’t know what to do when she’s in a sad mood because I don’t want to make her cry during class by talking about it. But I don’t want to just act like everything is normal. Should I try to be a happy constant in her life and not change my own attitude, or should I be sad with her?
Positively Concerned

Dear Positively Concerned,
Friendships can be a tricky thing, but there’s no need to worry– I have just the advice for you. From what I can tell, you already know your friend is going through something, whether you know exactly what it is or not. Your next steps come down to how you define friendship. Is it meant to be shallow, and only for laughs? Or is it also for sticking close to each other while navigating the tough times life throws at us? From my perspective, it’s important that you reach out. Friendships can be filled with fun and true joy, but only if you’re willing to support each other when the situations you’re in make it hard to smile. There are some simple alternatives to the problems you’ve presented. If you want to reach out, but don’t want her to cry in class, talk one-on-one outside of class. That way it minimizes the possibility of embarrassment, or shutting down completely, and gives you the opportunity to really listen. But as her friend, you can make it easier for her to talk to you by giving her the space and time to do so. You’ve already said you don’t want to act like everything is normal, so don’t. If you feel like there’s a problem, being there for your friend in every way possible is the best thing you can do. There’s no reason you can’t be a happy constant in her life while also being there to listen to her. Being optimistic and positive shouldn’t get in the way of helping your friend through a tough time. I hope that whatever you decide to do in this situation shows your friend how much you clearly care.
In Wisdom and Good Will,
Dr. Fact

Dear Positively Concerned,
Well, if I weren’t an old and bitter man living in my mother’s basement, I would tell you to just have a conversation with your friend, and to make sure you check in on them. But since I am an old and bitter man living in my mom’s basement, the best advice I would give to you is to not have any friends at all! Instead, try investing in a stray feral cat that only visits you because it wants food. These stray (and possibly diseased) cats can give you all the companionship you will ever need! I have one that currently lives with me in the basement. His name is Jerry. We have been best friends ever since he tried to bite off my right index finger. The great thing about owning feral cats is that you can talk to them about anything! Jerry is such an attentive listener, especially when he occupies my bed and tries to scratch my face off whenever I get within 6 feet of him. The best thing about Jerry is that he will never leave me! And I have actually tried to kick him out of my living quarters. He just loves me so much that he refuses to go outside! It’s almost like he owns the whole basement! I’ve tried calling pest control, but even they don’t want to take Jerry! I guess what I‘m trying to say is that being a loner and being a pet owner always helps when you’re having friend troubles!
Good Luck and Good Riddance,
Dr. Faux